Over the long weekend I took the time to venture a little further away then what is usually allowed. I went out to Cook Forest State Park. I remember camping here something like 6 years ago, but haven’t been back since. A shame really, to stay away from the wonderful ancient and majestic woods. Cook Forest is home to Forest Cathedral, one of the oldest patches of hemlock and hardwoods in the US. I hiked into the Forest Cathedral area, it was peacefully quiet, sometimes interrupted by the gentle wind blowing or the occasional bird chirping as the forest woke up. A soft snow fell from the trees high above. High above indeed, some of these trees are over 200ft tall and have been in this area since a large forest fire in the 1600’s. Some of the oldest surviving trees from the fire are over 450 years old!
Cooks Forest sits next to the Clarion River. The river corridor was used as a heavy transportation route back in the heavy logging days in the 1800’s. John Cook built the first of many water driven sawmills right on the banks of the Clarion River. The Cook family ran many sawmills, a flouring mill, a planing mill in what is now present day Cooksburg, right up the road from the park. Actually many of the homes on River Road are still maintained by the Cook Family and their descendants. Pretty cool that Cooks Forest is a natural landmark and historical landmark.